Kitaibelia vitifolia

Home » Blog » Kitaibelia vitifolia

Robert Pavlis

Kitaibelia vitifolia is a large perennial from the former Yugoslavia. This plant won’t steal the garden show but it fills a void in the garden. It is difficult to find 5 foot tall flowering plants that grow in shade. K. vitfolia fits the bill.

Kitaibelia vitifolia; photo by Robert Pavlis
Kitaibelia vitifolia; photo by Robert Pavlis

K. vitifolia is is also known as Russian hibiscus, cedar cup and Chalice flower. It starts to flower in late summer and continues until frost, producing a few white malva-type flowers in a continuous fashion. It is unaffected by any pests in my garden.

You probably will not find this rare plant in a nursery, but it is readily available as seed. ORG&HPS has it in their seed exchange most years. Seed germinates quickly, and a well grown seedling can flower the first year. Unlike other Malva plants, this one does not seed around.

Kitaibelia vitifolia; photo by Robert Pavlis
Kitaibelia vitifolia; photo by Robert Pavlis

I grow it at the back of a part-shade boarder and it makes a nice backdrop to other shade loving plants. It looks more like a shrub than a perennial. Some references say it can grow to 10 feet tall, but mine is about 5 feet tall growing under sugar maples. It can take full sun and damp conditions which might allow it to get bigger.

Plant Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis

Kitaibelia vitifolia

(kit-ay-BEE-luh  vy-tee-FO-lee-uh)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 2M (5ft)

Bloom Time: late August to late October

Natural Range: Yugoslavia

Habitat: damp thickets and grasslands

Synonyms:  Malope vitifolia

Cultivation of Kitaibelia vitifolia:

Light: full sun to full shade

Soil: very adaptable

Water: damp to dry

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 8

Propagation: division, seeds

If you like this post, please share .......

Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

Please leave a comment either here or in our Facebook Group: Garden Fundamentals